It wasn’t that many years ago that the extent of my computer gaming consisted of Solitaire, Minesweep, and shareware Wolfenstien. I was taking some courses at a community college and met Dave (>>>>>Nasa) and after a lot of pushing, he finally convinced me to try out Quake
I was a tough sell, because my opinion of gaming was that it was mostly devised to waste time. Once I learned how to play and beat the monsters in software mode, I tried playing against Dave interactively. I got my ass whooped but good. He laid me to waste. At the time, he had a VooDoo II SLI configuration (2-12MB boards), and I had a 4meg Stealth PCI card. Well now we get to where the disease really began. I went over to see his rig, and how it played. I was amazed to see how much better things looked on his screen than mine. I needed 3D acceleration — bad. Next computer show I was dropping around $170 or something for a Monster I pass-thru — you remember those right? So I still didn’t have the setup Dave did, but it looked and played way better on my Pentium 200MMX. I still have the 200MMX. Runs all the time. I do real work on it now. Very few of the PC purchases since meeting Dave have had anything to do with needing a better machine to get e-mail, do spreadsheets, or word processing. I am hooked on high performance FPS gaming — I got the disease and I got it bad. Cable modems, fast processors, more RAM, all that for games.
If it hadn’t been for Dave, I wouldn’t have met Shon. Well into my gaming career, not long after I got my first cable modem (Jan ’99), I stared running a server. It was named The Necromancer’s Lair (I played as ]-[aVo|<). I enjoyed getting that figured out, in fact, I still like admin-ing and setting up the equipment to play the games. Most of the fun there was learning how to make it all work with Linux, since I wanted to share the same Internet connection with a couple of other computers and have the server too. After I did get it working, I decided to set my server apart from what was typical at the time and run mostly custom maps. I downloaded at least 50 maps from cdrom.com and slapped ’em in the server. I got a good bit of traffic, but a lot of people would disconnect after a few downloads. One evening this player calling himself `isuckathis` happened into the Lair. I joined in and played him a while, and he stayed around. I don’t remember how merciless I was, but I do remember developing a rapport with him almost immediately. I don’t remember if I talked with Shon on the phone that night, but if not, it wasn’t long after our first meeting that I gave him my number, since we figured out we were in the same area. That was the beginning of a great friendship.
Time went on, and in late ’99 I believe it was, Shon said something about the quality of the maps in the server. He felt like a good many of them were not designed well, mostly from the standpoint of gameplay. I am not much of an artist myself, much more of a pragmatist, so I never really paid much attention to that aspect of the maps. My reasoning for selecting the maps I did was based simply on 1) bsp size — smaller was better to keep players from leaving too soon 2) complexity — I discarded maps that were zipped up with textures, because they were more stuff to download. Most every map in the original Necromancer’s Lair all used the basic q2 textures. Well, knowing that I was the pragmatic type, mostly ignorant of finer map qualities, and also tired of playing the same 50 levels, I told Shon to pick out the maps to run. He would e-mail me links to them and I would download and install them on the server. That became his task and I couldn’t find fault with any of his choices. He has an eye for good levels (obviously?). That same Fall, I think, I wound up configuring a Linux box for Shon.
I had upgraded the original Necromancer’s Lair machine from a 486-133 to a Pentium 233MMX. I gave him the old box to use. This was the beginning of Backshooter’s L2. He started his own server with custom levels and I played there when I wanted Lithium II, and my box ran some different mods. I got big into Gunslinger and even ran a CTF server there for a clan for a few months. Then the Blue Meanies at Comcast@home wrecked the fun and started bollocks-ing up the ability to run a decent server on a cable modem, and sometime in 2000, I don’t exactly remember, I pulled the plug on mine, and then Shon did on his too. We got more into LAN parties over at one of his friend’s house or his, something we had been doing all along anyway.
Once you’ve tasted from the cup of online server admin-ing though, it’s hard not to drink the cup again. So when the opportunity to run a server became available again, this time on a dedicated connection, I wasn’t about to let it pass. I started to see the potential in mid 2000 and finally in late 2000 the potential became reality. I took Shon’s Backshooter’s L2 Linux box and dumped the Quake II files and configs onto a new install of NT Server 4.0 in December 2000 and had the new server online before Christmas 2000. This was truly one of our mutual dreams. I wanted a real server on a real connection, and Shon wanted some exposure for the excellent maps he had been cranking out.
I had told Shon in mid-late 2000 that we just had to get his maps out there and running on a popular server, and Backshooter’s L2 is truly the culmination of a dream. We hope you all enjoy it.